Towards Large Scale Transfer Learning for Differentially Private Image Classification

Published: 25 Jan 2023, Last Modified: 28 Feb 2023Accepted by TMLREveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Abstract: Differentially Private Stochastic Gradient Descent (DP-SGD) has emerged as a popular private training algorithm. Unfortunately, the computational cost of training large-scale models with DP-SGD is substantially higher than non-private training. This is further exacerbated by the fact that increasing the number of parameters leads to larger degradation in utility with DP. In this work, we zoom in on the ImageNet dataset and demonstrate that, similar to the non-private case, pre-training over-parameterized models on a large public dataset can lead to substantial gains when the models are finetuned privately. Moreover, by systematically comparing private and non-private models across a range of large batch sizes, we find that similar to the non-private setting, the choice of optimizer can further improve performance substantially with DP. By using the LAMB optimizer, we saw improvement of up to 20$\%$ points (absolute). We also show that finetuning just the last layer for a \emph{single step} in the full batch setting, combined with extremely small-scale (near-zero) initialization leads to both SOTA results of 81.7 $\%$ under a wide privacy budget range of $\epsilon \in [4, 10]$ and $\delta$ = $10^{-6}$ while minimizing the computational overhead substantially. Finally, we present additional results on CIFAR-10 and CIFAR-100, surpassing previous state of the art by leveraging transfer learning with our recommendations.
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Submission Length: Regular submission (no more than 12 pages of main content)
Changes Since Last Submission: Changes suggested by reviewers
Assigned Action Editor: ~Gautam_Kamath1
Submission Number: 573